Thursday, May 03, 2007

One simple question

In business, as in life, I've tried to surround myself with experts - or at people who know a lot more than me in subjects other than what I know. It keeps life interesting and forces you to continually improve in order to contribute to discussions and make arguments. It also challenges the way you look at issues and forces you to be a critical thinker. This approach also sparks creativity when solving problems.

I recently had the pleasure of interviewing candidates for an internship. You may have read about it in the Post. Anyway, the standard questions get asked so frequently that it's hard to gauge whether they're reciting lines or sincere about what they say. That's when I ask them the question:

Are you the smartest person you know?

Of course there's a qualifier, but the bottom line is that if you're going to work with me then I expect you to tell me something I don't know. Daily. You know the kind of person I'm talking about -- the one in the professional or "friend" network everyone turns to because they have it figured out. The "go to" guy or girl.

Now, I'm not talking about arrogance and ignorance, which can come off as confidence during an interview -- which is why there are follow up and industry-specific questions. I mean someone who's predictive based on facts, history and trends. That's the kind of person I want on my team. So I'm going to ask you, reader:

Are you the smartest person you know?

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